The Cold Light of Day
Disclaimer: I own nothing, everything belongs to MTV and Jeff Davis, but I do so like to play with the characters. ;)
When Jackson screams at her in the middle of the hallway, in front of everyone, it crushes her. He has always been high-strung, temperamental, using his anger at the world to cover up what he is really feeling. She could understand that, the necessity to hide behind a mask, to not be vulnerable; she understood him. But lately his need to be the best, to prove himself, has turned into an obsession. He is searching for something and she doesn't know what it is, doesn't know how to help him and he is drifting away from her. Every time she tries to reach out to him, he only slips farther away and she can't handle the thought.
Sobs wreck her body and she rips off a bunch of toilet paper to stem the flow of her tears. The realization that she's become one of those girls who lock themselves in the bathroom, crying because of a boy, hits her and she's ashamed of her own patheticness. But with all that has happened to her over the last few weeks, she feels lonelier than ever before and she doesn't have it in her to stop the tears. They keep coming and all she wants is for Jackson to hold her, to tell her everything is going to be all right, but he doesn't care anymore. He discarded her like one of his old lacrosse helmets, never looking back.
She's not used to feeling so helpless, it is an unknown concept to her, and it frightens her more than anything else. The control she so desperately craves is eluding her and she has no idea how to get it back.
The anger he is feeling has become a constant in his life, always bubbling under the surface, waiting to emerge at any given moment. Yet it subsides in an instant when Lydia touches the chain around her neck and pulls out his house key from between her breasts. He lets out a halting breath of shock and disbelief and the feeling of shame at his behaviour is almost immediate. But he can't take it back and she grabs his hand, placing the key in it; forcing him to take it. Raising her eyes quickly to her, he finds that he is unable to look at her.
"I hate you, I hate you so much." He swallows, stunned by the feelings he sees in her sad eyes, overwhelmed by what this might mean.
"No, no you don't," he whispers and it is as much a realization as a surprise to him.
"I should. I should hate you." He can't stand to see her cry. Her tears awaken a part of him that had been asleep for a while, something forgotten in a corner of his mind, waiting to be remembered. And remember he does. His hand finds her way to her cheek; she still matters to him and he needs her to know it.
"Don't." She pulls away slightly, but he can't let her back away now.
"Lydia." The word is a mere whisper. He steps closer, his thumb stroking her chin. For a moment their foreheads touch and they linger, lost in the first close contact in months, before they kiss. He tastes her lips, feels the softness of her hair, the closeness of her body and realizes with painful clarity how much he has missed her. He never wants to let her go again.
Allison talks to her about love and her insides clench. She remembers her own younger, more naïve self, waiting for Jackson to pick her up for school, her heart hammering in anticipation until she sees his grey Porsche turning the corner, until she can lay her eyes on him. She remembers thinking that it would last forever, the feeling of happiness, the giddiness that she hides from everyone; that nobody could take that away from her. What a fool she'd been.
"Don't you remember what that's like?"
She stares at Allison. Allison, who claims to be her friend, yet is lying to her. The friend who doesn't know, nor seems to care, how much Jackson means to her; who stole his attention away from her, who danced with him at the winter formal while she herself was forced to watch, her heart breaking in her chest. Allison, who refuses to tell her where Jackson has gone and thinks that her own love life is the only thing in this universe that matters. She will be damned before she ever admits anything to Allison. Her feelings for Jackson are hers and hers alone. So she replies with the only answer left to her. "No."
"What do you mean, 'no'? You've had boyfriends."
She takes in Allison's uncomprehending expression while her mind wanders to a darkening room and a shared kiss. "No, not like that." The key she found abandoned on the floor lies heavy against her heart as she leaves the car.
He hears her voice from far away, the words penetrating through a thick haze until they finally reach him. Then suddenly, full awareness comes and he is left staring at Lydia's fingers, lightly touching his arm. For just a moment her face is a sight which warms him, a light in the dark. Then he takes in her small smile, the intimacy and hope hidden behind it, and relief is replaced by terror. She is utterly too close to him, to what he has become, and the fear of what he might do is overwhelming. He can't have her near him and the realization hurts him deep inside. "You don't want me there, trust me."
For a second the disbelief is visible in her eyes before she continues in a gentle voice: "Don't worry about it. Look, I'm over it, of course I would want you to…"
He grabs her arm, desperately grasping at the fleeting moment of sanity, of control, afraid the darkness will claim him too early. She needs to understand. "You do not want me there."
Lydia slowly pulls away and he despairingly looks at the empty space where her hand had been. "I'll see you there," she says, looking stunned and a little bit scared before she turns around and walks away, leaving him to the darkness once again.
She stares at Jackson's body, his head still between her hands, and the world stops around her. The only sound she hears is the rapid beating of her own heart and the painful absence of his. She remains in this position until she is pushed aside by a medic and is forced to let go of him. All the noises come flooding back in a rush and it overwhelms her senses. She watches him being carried away on a stretcher and the feeling that she's somehow abandoning him crushes her chest. So when she later gets the message that Jackson is alive and that she can help him, there is no doubt in her mind about what she has to do.
Stiles doesn't understand, talks instead about how he wouldn't be able to live without her. "Death doesn't happen to you, Lydia, it happens to everyone around you, to all the people left standing at your funeral, trying to figure out how they're gonna live the rest of their lives now without you in it."
She has never seen him this agitated and it creeps her out a bit, the way he talks about her possible death. It also makes her angry; how does he think she is supposed to live with herself if Jackson dies and she hasn't done everything in her power to help him? If she has to stand looking down while his coffin is being lowered into the ground, knowing she could have done something to prevent it?
She is barely able to understand how Stiles can make this about himself when it really has nothing to do with him. And so she puts up with his outburst, accepts his apology and leaves. Jackson is calling out to her and she will answer.
The claws rip through his body, tearing his insides apart, and he falls forward onto the ground. Lydia's arms hold him up as he struggles to breathe and he finds himself looking into her eyes. Those big, green eyes which are so familiar to him are full of pain and he regrets that once again, he has been the cause of it. He feels his life slowly ebbing away and he has no time left for pride, no strength left to pretend any longer, nor can he remember why it ever seemed important to pretend in the first place; he just has to know. "Do you," he can barely get the words out, "do you still…"
But she knows him, knows him better than anyone, and she doesn't need to hear them. "I do. I do still love you."
Hearing her say it, mean it, settles something inside him; it quietens the raging fire which has been burning him up and soothes his soul. Lydia's love had been a distant memory, something he had lost, if not through his fading popularity, then through his own behaviour. That she still loves him after everything he's done, that he's still good enough for her…it touches him in ways he can't comprehend.
She is crying, murmuring the words over and over, and it's like a sweet lullaby, putting him to sleep. He has many regrets, but this is not one of them. Lydia's safe now and knowing that she's loved him, through everything, is enough. It's enough for him.
A.N.: I loved writing my version of the final scene. It was, imo, hands down the best scene of Teen Wolf up to date. I can't wait for what season 3 has in store for us. Let me know what you think, reviews are always appreciated. :)